In the tent next to us was two young guys who were just there camping for the night, and during the night one of them began snoring really loudly. This doesn't really keep us awake anymore, but his tent mate was getting very frustrated with being kept awake, and we could hear him saying, "Dude, wake up! You're keeping me awake!" The snoring continued. Again, he made a frustrated plea - the snoring continued. Finally you could hear him throw something at the snorer, like maybe a pillow. This happened about 3 more times before the snoring finally stopped. We couldn't help but laugh - all of this at 4 in the morning.
When we finally left the Eckville Shelter, not only had the rain stopped, but the weather had turned MUCH cooler and breezier. Hurray! We knew that we had a rocky day ahead of us though. It wasn't long before we found the rocks. Mainly they slow us down, and wear us out quicker. We stopped at an overlook for a lunch break. It was a nice overlook, but I have to admit the view was so similar to the view from Pinnacle, that I did not take a picture of it.
We hiked on, and soon reached a huge line of large rocks along the ridge line, with a sign that said, "Balanced Rocks," with an arrow pointing that way. I was quite ready to take my pack off, even if only for a few minutes, and said I was going to go check it out and see if it was picture-worthy. I only climbed over about a dozen large rocks, and was following the blue blazes to the Balanced Rocks, when I spotted a brown snake sunning itself. I stopped and looked around me, and saw nothing but large rocks in the sun in all directions,, and pictured snakes on every one of them. I decided that I really wasn't so interested in the Balanced Rocks after all, and headed back to where I left the guys.
We hiked on, and went through difficult rock fields for quite a while. At one point, we met a group of Boy Scouts on a hike, and just as they got to us, two of them fell down on the rocks. No one was hurt badly, but it was a reminder that the rocks were pretty slick from the morning rain.
We reached a shelter that we were planning on taking a break at, and there was a group of four men there who were drying out some of their clothes. They had gotten caught in the rain. They all had kids who went to the same school, except two of them, who used to work together. They were all from the Lehigh Valley, and were very familiar with the trail, so we enjoyed visiting with them and getting details of what lay ahead. They had questions about doing a thru-hike. One of them even offered his own trail magic- home grown blueberries from his own farm. They were sweet and juicy! One of the guys used to work for Runner's World Magazine, so of course, Keith and I thought that was extremely cool! We really enjoyed their company, and we could have sat there and visited for hours, but we had such a late start to the day, that we were already behind on where we should be.
We headed on north, and hit a really nice stretch of easy trail that lasted for 5 or 6 miles. We reached a road, and knew there was a restaurant there, but also knew it was closed on Mondays. We were due for a break though, and decided we would take it on their front porch (it was a B & B), hoping that just maybe they had changed the days that they were closed on. No such luck. We sat there and watched the traffic stream by, and then set out on our final section of the day. We decided to cut it a bit short, because the last section would take us over the Knifes Edge and Bear Rocks, and the names did not imply something we really wanted to get to when we were tired and hungry, and possibly running out of light. Also, it was up on the ridge, and none of us knew if there would be a place to camp in the next five miles. We found a sign that pointed us downhill to a campsite, and decided to end the day there.
We put up the tent, and for the first time in weeks, I was able to pull out my base layer to sleep in. We're getting back into the 50's tonight!
Camped at Tripoli Camp, mile 1239.9
- Steady and F100